Hazmat exercise set for May 17


(Posted April 20, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Every four years, Madison County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) holds a full-scale hazardous materials exercise. The simulation gives first responders hands-on practice with handling such emergencies.

The next exercise is scheduled for May 17 of this year and will take place near Von Kanel Field and the Armaly Brands plant in downtown London. The scenario will involve a wreck between a box truck carrying extremely hazardous chemicals and another vehicle, resulting in a chemical spill. Smoke bombs will be used to simulate the spill. No actual hazardous chemicals will be used in the exercise.

Several emergency response agencies will take part in the exercise, including local fire and police departments, squads, the hospital, the health department, the Emergency Management Agency, and others. Twenty students from Tolles Career & Technical Center will act as victims.

Prior to the exercise, the LEPC will notify businesses and residents in the area of the upcoming simulation. Traffic controls will be in place from 8 a.m. to approximately 11:30 a.m. in that area the day of the exercise. Street closings are planned at Cherry and High streets, Cherry Street and Western Avenue, and Madison Road and First Street.

The exercise is part of what local emergency planning committees do to prepare for emergencies, particularly those that involve hazardous materials. The community-based organizations also are required to develop an emergency response plan, review the plan at least annually, and provide information about hazardous materials in the community to citizens. The committees work with their local emergency management agencies to keep records of the entities in the community that have hazardous chemicals, making note of the types and quantities of chemicals.

Brian Bennington, chief of the Madison County Emergency Medical District and chief of the Central Townships Joint Fire District, serves as chairman of Madison County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee. Deb Sims, director of Madison County’s Emergency Management Agency, is the committee’s secretary, treasurer, and information coordinator. The committee typically meets twice a year.


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